Karula National Park

Amadvr - CC BY-SA 3.0 ee • Marko Vainu - CC BY-SA 3.0 • Aleksander Kaasik - CC BY-SA 3.0

Karula National Park is national park in southern Estonia. It was established in 1979 as a protected area and in 1993 became a national park. It is the smallest national park in Estonia.

Karula National Park is characterised by its hilly topography, its many lakes, the great biodiversity and traditional cultural landscape. The flora of the national park is rich, and includes several species red-listed in Estonia such as the Baltic orchid, mezereon and the daisyleaf grape fern; the latter is only found in three locations in Estonia and Karula is one of them. The fauna also incorporates unusual and threatened species, such as the pond bat, the lesser spotted eagle and the black stork. Mammals like elk, lynx and polecat are common.

Getting there

Karula is located far from Tallinn and most of the internal flights. However, Estonia is not very large and driving to the park is only around 3 hours even though the park is located in the opposite end of the country. The drive from Riga is Latvia is approximately the same.

When to visit

Hiking is the primary activity in the national park and is best enjoyed in some of the warmer months. You can visit during winter but it gets quite cold.


Park website


Park size

124 km²

Park founded


Map of Karula National Park

Image gallery of Karula National Park

Marko Vainu - CC BY-SA 3.0 • Aleksander Kaasik - CC BY-SA 3.0 • Koolobus - CC BY-SA 3.0 • Aleksander Kaasik - CC BY-SA 3.0 •

Visitor/Information centres in Karula National Park

Most national parks have an associated visitor centre to help visitors. They are usually open most of the year but some close in the off-season. You will often be able to find information on all the activities in the national park. A visit to the visitor centre is often recommended before venturing into the park.

Hiking trails in Karula National Park

Almost all national parks have some opportunities for hiking. You can see some of the more popular trails here. You should get local information for detailed information on all trails of the national park.

Natural Sights

Most national parks have there own trademarks. This goes for both natural sights and man-made. This section will list any popular sights in nature.

Wildlife in Karula National Park

These sections shows you some of the characteristic wildlife to the national park.

Bears in Karula National Park

Bears in Karula National Park

Few bears in the park

This national park has bears and you need to take the necessary precautions. It is however unlikely that you will come across a bear.